I am going to explore the relationship between George and Lennie that is conferred by john Steinbeck in the novel of mice and men. It follows two migrant workers who travel together to find work at a ranch, because of Lennies childlike mentality, there was a death that subsequently means that they lose out on the chance of achieving their American dream that kept them positive about their future. The story set in 1930s America, during ‘The Great Depression’ when the country was facing an economic crisis. George and Lennie represent what life might have been like for an average blue – collar American person at the time.
At the beginning of the novella, in chapter one Steinbeck shows a common theme that is repeated several times it was that George is the leader of the duo and Lennie as a ‘follower’. This is shown when Steinbeck highlights “They walked in a single file down the path, even in the open one stayed behind.” This shows that the man ahead is the dominant one and has authority over Lennie in this relationship as the other person is walking straight behind him without being told to. It may also illustrates the image that George acts as a parental figure too when it is written that Lennie acts like a child who is shy or afraid and is hiding behind another person for safety as he is not able to stand up for himself . Later on, on page 7, George calls Lennie names and shames him for forgetting where they are heading. Moreover, Lennie imitates George’s every action; he lies down in the exact same position. This context connotes, that George is not only the leader, but the wiser one too. Also, I found it ironic that Lennie is bigger than George however he is not as intelligent.
Furthermore, at the starting point on page 13-14., it is been cited that George and Lennie are companions too, “With us, it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us.” This conversation shows the idea that the two of them are unique and have something different about themselves in comparison to an ordinary migrant worker; it might give them some form of hope as it was a difficult time for the nationwide ‘depression’ when life was dull, glum and hope was fleeting. The quote shows that it was rare that migrant workers traveled together witch amplifies the importance of George and Lennie’s companionship as they both needed each other to keep them motivated and happy on their long journeys, this is observed when the phrase “We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us.” The personal pronouns used here like ‘us’ and ‘we’ show the reader that whatever decision they both take, they take it together and always want each other in any circumstances as if they are family or brothers. In addition to this, it shows a more gentle or vulnerable side to George in the story when he tries his utmost to take care of Lennie and to make sure nothing bad ever happens to him when he is recounting the dream. Once again Steinbeck has drawn attention to the significance of their bond which goes through many challenges throughout the book in such a rough time period….
-In chapter (new)
Through chapter 1 to 6, Steinbeck has also presented the bond between George and Lennie to of an owner and a pet .He metaphorically compares Lennie to a range of wild animals such as a dog, horse and bear. Lennie fulfils his animal comparisons by his strength and foreshadows the lack of his intellect he has. He is a giant and looks intimidating, but has the mind of a child. (Dabbled paw (bear water) doesn’t think) . Steinbeck (crushes Curly’s hand (a dog)). It would indicate …For example, Lennie and George were chased out because Lennie “Jus’ wanted to feel that girl’s dress…”(pg 11) You can imagine how that girl must’ve felt went some great big man walks up to her and starts petting her. So she screamed and George and Lennie hid from the men who came looking for them shortly afterward
In conclusion their relationship and friendship was only found in one in a million. Steinbeck uses feelings of happiness, obligation, and love to build on the theme of friendship. George and Lennie’s friendship grows stronger and stronger ,and it grows so much that the reader should sympathize with George as he showed one of the biggest signs of respect and love toward Lennie when he shot him, as he did it for both of their benefit and happiness and wanted what was best for Lennie. He knew that Lennie would either be piqued in the end or get killed anyways. In the present time this friendship can be seen in schools with best friends, they know everything of each other; they focus too much on their popularity rather than on the person. This could possibly be the messages Steinbeck is trying to conveying to his readers through is rare and symbolic friendship